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Healthy and Natural Sugar Substitutes

You don't need to live a life without the wonderful taste of sweetness. Nature has given us plenty of choices. Choose from these to sweeten your coffee or tea. They can even work well for baked goods.

  • Stevia with FOS. Stevia is a very sweet herb from South America that's available in powder and liquid form at health-food stores. FOS stands for fruit ogiliosaccharides, which are beneficial for and support healthy intestinal bacteria, or flora. Stevia with FOS is a nonnutritive powder found at health-food stores or in the health-food section of your grocery store. Be careful—a little goes a long way.

  • Single blossom honey, such as red clover honey, or orange blossom honey is low-glycemic. You can comfortably use this to sweeten your beverages. The same with Agave nectar. Both, however, are high-caloric and high-carbohydrate, so use sparingly.

  • Xylitol, known as birch sugar, can be used for baking and sweetening beverages. Xylitol is low-glycemic and healthy for you. It doesn't cause blood sugar imbalances or yeast overgrowth like table sugar. It's thought to promote bone health and prevent tooth decay and plaque buildup. The only drawback is that if you eat too much, you could experience gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea. But then, if you're eating 0-5, you won't be eating too much.

  • Fructose is a natural low-glycemic sugar that's found in fruit. You can also find it in granulated form at health-food stores. Fructose is sweeter than regular table sugar, so you need less. Research indicates that ingesting lots of fructose, as in drinking sodas and beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, and using processed foods, such as syrups and candy that contain high-fructose corn syrup, can elevate the lipids that increase heart disease. So stay away from those syrupy and sweet processed foods. But you're fine eating fruit and using fructose sparingly as a sweetener and for baking.

  • Sucrose, or regular table sugar, is medium-glycemic and fine for most people if you consume small amounts, as in sweetening your coffee. Eating large amounts, for instance, in candy and baked goods, isn't on your eating plan, and eating large amounts of anything will ruin your 0-5 eating.

You can use natural sweeteners with confidence, but of course, with restraint.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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